Jeremiah Francis may not have played his last two years of high school, but he flashed plenty of talent early on. What could UNC possibly be getting from the point guard if he returns to full health?
Former Pickerington Central star and three-star point guard Jeremiah Francis will be stepping onto Chapel Hill campus this fall for UNC Basketball, but there’s no guarantee that the stocky 6-foot-3 Ohio native will be donning the famed baby blues during the 2019-2020 college basketball season.
Although it would unquestionably be a delight both on a basketball and human level to see Francis play as a freshman at one of the nation’s premier basketball programs, his health remains in limbo, as he’s still recovering from a major knee injury that led to the radically infamous microfracture surgery and a pair of missed seasons to end his high school career.
Sitting on the sidelines as a redshirt isn’t out of the question, although such a fate would understandably be unfortunate for all parties. But, given the tender nature of his knee and the tumultuous history of returnees from microfracture surgery, it could prove fruitful to let the guard rest and recover until he and the medical team at UNC believe that he’s ready to go.
It seems as if Francis has been participating in team practices if social media posts are to be believed, which is nonetheless encouraging. But, nonetheless, there’s still no certainty that practice time leads to on-court appearances from the freshman.
His return to basketball is not the only question looming over UNC — when he returns, be it this year or the next, what should the Tar Heels expect from the former four-star point guard who ranked as high as No. 48 in the nation and who had seen high-major programs battling for his services? What was it about Jeremiah Francis that had him tracking to be one of the more sought-after guards in the 2019 recruiting class? Was he that good?
In short: Yes, yes he was.
Really good, in fact.
Based on just how strong of a prospect Francis was as a sophomore for Pickerington, it’s fair to believe that his peak of No. 48 on the 247Sports Composite wasn’t his true ceiling, and that, with two more seasons of high school ball ahead of him, he could’ve climbed well into the 30s and 20s and prove himself to be one of the nation’s top guards.
Through just two seasons of high school basketball, Jeremiah Francis had emerged as the (then) top point guard in Ohio, routinely putting his pull-up scoring, patient playmaking, and relentless downhill finishing on display. There was so much to love about his game and his room for maturation, both in terms of raw skill and physical profile, and although he’s been on the shelf for two years, there’s still the potential that he returns to form once healthy.
But what exactly could UNC be getting from him? What can we glean from a very limited sample, both in terms of games played but in terms of available film and stats?
For those looking to learn more about who Jeremiah Francis is as a player, there isn’t much to go by on the internet: Only a pair of full games on YouTube, a few highlight reels, and a few points-per-game stats and box scores here and there. Despite playing on a talented Pickerington Central team and appearing in both the Nike and Adidas circuits, there aren’t any readily available stats for us to look at.
Understandably, this makes evaluating Francis a bit tricky.
Analyzing a player off of sparse highlights and a pair of games from two-plus years ago isn’t ideal. Far from it. But that’s all we really have to work with when dissecting the abilities of Jeremiah Francis from afar. It isn’t much, but it’s something, and we can still glean a decent amount regarding who he was as a player in terms of skill set and mindset.
Making definitive declarations would be malpractice since the sample is so incredibly small and the footage so old. Plus, there are no accessible stats that could possibly inch us closer to fully understanding his performance as a freshman and sophomore at Pickerington Central, so all analysis must be solely observational and anecdotal. The “eye test” isn’t exact, but it’s the only thing we really have to use when discussing Jeremiah Francis as a prospect.
With all that said, let’s dive into the film.